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Java applets for font protection (was: pixel fonts)

From: Andrew C. Bulhak <acb@cs.monash.edu.au>
Date: Sun, 11 Aug 1996 03:55:54 +1000 (EST)
Message-Id: <199608101755.DAA13529@silas.cc.monash.edu.au>
To: gtn@ebt.com (Gavin Nicol)
Cc: www-font@w3.org
[Gavin Nicol]
> >Java applets for implementing fonts are an interesting idea, and better
> >than bitmaps.  Although I suspect that people would crack them soon
> >enough (perhaps even for sport alone, as with games in the Amiga
> >days).
> There are already 3 JAVA decompilers that I am aware of. All do a
> fairly reasonable job.
> Using Java applets will not protect font information.

It will, for a while.  Of course, while there is a theoretically 
infinite number of ways of designing Java applets that exhibit
font-like behaviour and contain outlines, few people will go to
the trouble of designing their own from scratch.  There will soon
be a number of standard font applets, and no doubt a cracker scene
(either hobby crackers or professional criminals or both) which 
catalogues them and writes programs for extracting their secrets.

One way around this may be to adapt a technique from the computer virus
"industry"; namely polymorphic code.  Have the program which generates
font applets (each with a limited scope) perform transformations on the
code to perturb it.  Maybe have the applet contain an outline, decryption
mechanism and key, but rarely in the same place (or even using the same
technique) in any two applets, so that automatically cracking them is 

This won't halt determined crackers, of course, but beyond a point
spending hours laboriously untangling the bytecode in order to
get a reconstituted outline (which, being reconstituted, may not be
as good as an original) won't be worth the few hundred saved, except
to the real obsessives.

  http://www.zikzak.net/~acb/       "`HAVE A NICE DAY' died for your sins."
           <acb@dev.null.org>                                  -- Mumbles
Received on Saturday, 10 August 1996 13:56:21 UTC

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